OPINION

Column: How a seatbelt saved my life

Gracie Farquhar
Oxford Stories

Throughout childhood, mothers constantly issue commands to their children to protect them. However, the persistent urging from parents usually surpasses the child’s understanding and just sounds more like annoying nagging.

Some examples include, but are not limited to: Look both ways when crossing the street. Do not take candy from strangers. Use your manners when speaking to adults.

One of the most common is: Wear your seatbelt when riding in a car.

As a child, I always knew the importance of wearing a seatbelt, but was never in a situation where I truly understood why this was such a significant commandment. This all changed during my junior year of high school. 

It was a Saturday night in April, and I had spent the evening at my good friend’s house watching movies. As the night became late and my eyes became heavy, I concluded it was time to go home to bed.

My best friend, Sophia, and I carpooled together to our friend’s house, so she was also going to drop me off at my home. We soon headed towards my house. As we were driving, we were singing along to our favorite songs without a care in the world.

Sophia and I always drove around at night together, so we were not expecting the worst. All that was keeping me from my house was a stop light and intersection a block from my house, which Sophia and I were stopped at because the light was red.

As soon as the light turned green, Sophia pressed the gas as any normal being would do. That was the introduction of our chaotic night. An SUV speeding down the road ran a red light, slamming into Sophia’s car.

The impact was so massive it caused Sophia’s car to roll down the road twice, and eventually make one more half rotation, leaving the car upside down. If that was not crazy enough, Sophia’s car also rolled on top of a different car nearby. In conclusion, three cars were involved in this crisis.

Photo by Gracie Farquhar.

Sophia and I were just hanging upside down in her car. The only thing holding Sophia and I together were the seatbelts we were both wearing.

We were quickly approached by witnesses who helped get us out of our seatbelts and climb out of the totaled car. Sophia and I were not severely injured. We just had some scratches and pieces of glass stuck in our toes.  The other two people involved in the collision were not seriously injured either.

When Sophia and I were finally out of the car, we were appalled at the site. Curious people came to the scene concerned because they said the area appeared so horrendous, they all assumed there were no survivors. The scene was soon flooded with firetrucks and police cars, all eager to help us.

Photo by Gracie Farquhar.

As I reflect on that night, I remember how fast the whole thing happened. When I think hard enough, I can also remember the initial smash and the flipping. I can attest that if Sophia and I were not wearing our seatbelts that night, we would be dead. If not dead, we would not be our normal selves.

I have never had an issue with wearing a seatbelt, but I just think of the people who do. This scenario could happen to anyone. Sophia and I were doing nothing wrong. It was the car that ran the red light’s fault.

That is why I say this experience could potentially happen to any child or adult. It would be unfortunate for someone to have to experience what I did or worse to perceive the seatbelt as a critical safety device.

I am fortunate for the way my car crash experience ended, which is why I am advocating for others to wear seatbelts when traveling in a vehicle. Also, listen to your mom, she knows what she is talking about when she is spitting out rules.

Gracie Farquhar, 19, has always dreamed of working in a skyscraper building in a big city for a glossy magazine. Her enthusiasm for storytelling has led her to pursue a career in journalism at UM, a school far from home, but a part of her family’s history. 

Farquhar was born and raised in Midland, Texas. Going out of state for college was absolute. She grew up in a family that is deeply connected to the University of Mississippi. Her great-grandfather was once the academic dean of the university, and her father played tennis for the school. While she considered many other schools to continue her higher education, her emotional connection to Ole Miss led her here. 

While she was born into a family that bred tennis players, she loves dance. She was a member of a competitive dance team for 16 years. She later joined the Midland High School Starz Dance and became captain of the team for three consecutive years. She has danced in London’s New Year’s Day Parade. 

She is a team member for UM’s new fashion publication and is excited to pursue a career in journalism at Ole Miss, hoping to eventually work in fashion or entertainment. 

Categories: OPINION

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